Although “Star Wars” has become a topic of controversy since Disney took ownership of the franchise, “The Mandalorian” has stunned Star Wars fans and audiences across the globe with its visuals, acting, and overall quality.
Released on the launch date of the new streaming service Disney Plus, it is the first live-action Star Wars series. Although the stake was high, the creator of the show Jon Favreau and Disney pulled it off excellently.
The show is a space western about a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter named Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal). The events take place five years after “Return of the Jedi” in the lawless outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic. During one mission, the Mandalorian finds his bounty to be a child of the same unnamed species as Yoda. The rest of the series follows Djarin trying to balance the uncertainty and dangers of his job, while also trying to protect the child who is being hunted by many powerful and nefarious people in the galaxy.
This adorable character nicknamed “Baby Yoda” has taken the internet by storm, sparking memes and an overwhelming demand for merchandise.
The series also boasts a strong human cast. Pascal, a “Game of Thrones” and “Narcos” alum, is no stranger to big time tv shows. Pascal is a Chilean actor and is the third Latino to be in Star Wars alongside Oscar Isaac (Guatemalan-Cuban) and Diego Luna (Mexican).
Starring alongside Pascal are former football player Carl Weathers who plays Greef Karga and UFC fighter Gina Carano who plays Cara Dune. “Breaking Bad” star GianCarlo Esposito also gives a chilling performance as Moff Gideon, the villain who is on the hunt for the child and will stop at nothing.
What the first season does so well is its ability to intertwine with familiar stories and themes but at the same time bring its own spin. The show has spaghetti-western and samurai tropes, but instead is shown from the perspective of a bounty hunter in space fighting off aliens and protecting people from intergalactic threats. Although it has those well known themes, due to its creative writing and astonishing visuals, it feels original.
“I like the image of the Mandalorian because it really hearkened back to the Westerns and samurai films that had originally influenced Lucas. It’s a deconstructed version of Clint Eastwood in ‘The Man with No Name’. That’s a great, mysterious, fun character to see the world through,” Favreau said with ABC News.
There are a total of eight episodes in the series, each around 40 minutes. While fans wished for a longer season, the brevity is understandable since each episode cost a whopping $15 million, according to the Washington Post. It shows the idea of being something of quality over quantity.
One of the most important things about the series is that it is more than an action packed “Star Wars” adventure. It is not purely about those things, but in fact is very deep as we see what the character Din Djarin goes through.
Part of the Mandalorian lore is that all members must keep their helmets on in public and can only take the off in private because they want to camouflage the true numbers of their race. We see throughout the show how people around Djarin and himself struggle with this at times. There is a plot line in one episode where there is a chance for Djarin to rest in a village to raise the child, leave bounty hunting behind, and stay with a love interest. We see him consider the possibility, but in the end choose not to give up his way of life.
It is is also not simply about someone who is trying to save a kid. It is truly about a man who has been alone for most of his life, still hurt from the loss of his parents. He is forced to question his morals and actions after he comes across the helpless child who is just like he was when rescued by the Mandalorians.
Although we can’t see Pascal’s face, he masters still showing emotion through the interpretation of the character’s dialogue. We see his character struggle with aspects of morality while trying to protect a hunted child who also happens to be very cute!
The aspects of justice and following the right path are all apparent in this show. Fortunately season two has been confirmed to come out later this year and is currently in production. Overall, “The Mandalorian” works because it feels original while fitting seamlessly with one of the most popular franchises in the world.